Archive

News

Looking back on the last day of 2017… This site has been very quiet this year; but even if artistic production and performance has been less in evidence there has been significant BiSS activity of other sorts, both study and teaching…

Having formally presented to the Roehampton dance research community in November 2016, in the New Year I submitted an initial chapter and a summary plan of my dissertation for examination by my Director of Studies Emilyn Claid, supervisor Geraldine Morris and Internal Examiner dance philosopher Anna Pakes. A viva on these submissions in May happily confirmed my upgrade in the PhD progress; the green light to go ahead and write. Read More

Advertisements

Delighted to alert you to the news that Ségolène Tarte has confirmed that she will be teaching a new ballet class on Tuesday evenings at Mortimer Hall in Marston, starting from 26th September, and every Tuesday evening until (and included) 19th December, see below for full details.  Ségolène has been an inspiring presence in URC classes both as a dancer and more recently as a teacher, drawing on her European training background to bring an enriching and distinctive flavour to her classes.  A great addition to Oxford’s ballet teaching provision – enjoy!

18.15 – 19.45 Advanced adult ballet @ Mortimer Hall (OX3 0PH)

She will also consider doing an improvers/intermediate adult class if there is sufficient demand.
The price for a class will be £10 pay-as-you-go.

Mortimer Hall is a lovely village hall with a sprung floor. There is an area for changing in the adjacent room, although no showers, and full access to the kitchen.  It is located at the Marston end of the Marston Ferry Road at 40 Oxford Road, Old Marston, Oxford OX3 0PH.
There is space for parking in front; it’s in easy cycling reach of the city centre and Summertown, using the cycle path along the Marston Ferry Road; it is also accessible by bus: 14A (stop: Old Marston Library), and 14, 700, X3, X13, S7, and S5 (stop: Cherwell Drive).

Ségolène requests that those interested in coming along to the advanced class, or in a possible improvers/intermediate class, should contact her with any queries: segolene.tarte@gmail.com.

Other classes she will be teaching on a regular basis this term:
Wednesdays at Rye St Antony [OX3 0BY] (for Penny Cullerne-Bown’s East Oxford School of Ballet) [1/2 term break dates tbc]
Fridays at URC [OX2 7HN] (for Paula Nattrass’s Oxford Academy of Dance) [1/2 term break dates tbc]

And here is a short biography for those interested in knowing a bit more:

********

Ségolène Tarte studied ballet with Geneviève Guillée, of the Paris Opera Ballet, at the “conservatoire municipal du XVe – Frédéric Chopin” (Geneviève danced with the Paris Opera Ballet company for 20 years, reaching the grade of “grand sujet” in 1961; she further sat as a panel member on the jury of the Paris Opera Ballet company’s annual internal promotion contest in the 1980s, whilst teaching at the conservatoire). Ségolène pursued her ballet training in Berne (Switzerland) with Ivana Halamka (soloist at the Prague Chamber ballet, at ballet Karlsruhe, then ballet mistress at the Berne Statdttheater Ballet) and joined the semi-professional company City Ballett Halamka for 5 years where she danced a number of solos, whilst completing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. In parallel with pursuing her academic career, working as a Digital Humanist in close collaboration with Classicists at the University of Oxford, Ségolène’s move to Oxford in 2008 has seen her debuts as a choreographer, improviser, and ballet teacher. She has shown her work at various venues in Oxford, including at the Pegasus Theatre and the Old Fire Station, and teaches for a number of well-established dance schools in Oxford. Drawing on her training in the French School of ballet, through her ballet classes, Ségolène strives to share the joy of movement and the subtleties of intention through movement. Her favourite technical foci are: presentation and articulation of the feet and lower legs; fluidity and breath in the movements of the upper body; and precision and clarity in the orientation of the body in space.

 

Looking back on the review of 2015, 2016 didn’t work out quite as expected – but in a year of global upheaval that is perhaps hardly surprising…

Following on from Two old instruments, an amazing opportunity had presented itself in December 2015 to work with Baroque musician Evelyn Nallen on a recreation of what could claim to be the first dramatic ballet in which a story was told without recourse to words, but through dance and mimetic gesture. John Weaver’s The Loves of Mars and Venus was premiered on 2nd March 1717 at Drury Lane.   His original scenario survives, and Evelyn and dance historian Moira Goff had used it as a base to put together a score of suitable period music; the idea to recreate the work incorporating some authentic dance material of the period but to reset ensembles and the gestural scenes, which Weaver had originally “attempted in imitation of the Pantomimes of the Ancient Greeks and Romans”.   This fascinating project was set to be unveiled on the 300th Anniversary in a truly period magnificent setting with a team of 14 dancers, 7 musicians and an actress. Unfortunately despite our best efforts and heavyweight support from some big names including Dr Richard Ralph, Weaver’s biographer, we were unable to raise sufficient funds; and ultimately lost our venue through factors beyond our control. The project has now morphed into an intimate play with music and authentic dance “Mr Weaver’s Dramatick Entertainment”, but I am sadly no longer involved. I will however keep you posted of performances of what should be a very enjoyable celebration of a truly notable date in the history of ballet. Read More

Leap Day Dancing Flyer

Late last year I felt honoured to be approached by two of the Oxford dance scene’s most respected figures, Cecilia Macfarlane and Joëlle Pappas, with an invitation to present work at Leap Day Dancing at the Old Fire Station during the 10th anniversary edition of Dancin’ Oxford. This platform, aptly named for its Leap Year’s Day performance date of 29th February, curated by Cecilia and Joëlle with producer Euton Daley, offered an alternative to the Festival’s regular Moving With The Times programme at the Pegasus Theatre where selected choreographers receive support (mentoring, studio and theatre space, work in progress showings) to present new works which relate to the platform’s titular theme. Leap Day Dancing by contrast brought together a collection of new and existing short studies and completed works from Oxford dance makers; and serendipitously revealed connections between the artists, and themes which gave meaning to apparently disparate contributions, making for a touching and satisfying event which revealed and reflected particular characteristics of Oxford’s idiosyncratic dance culture. Read More

Rehearsing Sea of Troubles with Yorke Dance Project at the Place 22/02/16 -photo by Yolande Yorke-Edgell

Rehearsing Sea of Troubles with Yorke Dance Project at the Place 22/02/16 -photo by Yolande Yorke-Edgell

The last two Sundays I have spent at The Place in London rehearsing Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet Sea of Troubles. This innovative late work was made in 1988 for the independent ballet company Dance Advance, led by Michael Batchelor, Jennifer Jackson, Sheila Styles and myself. As aspiring choreographers we broke away from the Royal Ballet companies to make new ballet based work, using 20th century and live music, performing in a range of smaller, more intimate venues round the country, reaching new audiences. For our first programme we asked MacMillan if he would make something for us; he responded with an experimental take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, designed by Deborah MacMillan, and set to chamber music by Webern and Martinu played live in performance by the ensemble Quorum. We toured extensively in southern, south-eastern and eastern regions of the UK, culminating in two performances in the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s South Bank. The piece later toured to Madrid, the Canary Isles, Bonn and China, and a short documentary was made about it by Anglia Television, featuring interview with MacMillan and extracts performed by the original cast: Michael Batchelor, Susie Crow, Jennifer Jackson, Russell Maliphant, Stephen Sheriff and Sheila Styles. Sea of Troubles subsequently entered the repertoire of Scottish Ballet and was also performed by an ensemble led by Adam Cooper.

Sea of Troubles is now being revived by Yorke Dance Project as part of their new programme Inspirit (also featuring works by Robert Cohan, Yolande Yorke-Edgell and Charlotte Edmonds), which will be previewed at the Clore Studio at the Royal Opera House on 11th March, and will tour in autumn 2016. MacMillan’s barefoot work, which the choreographer intended as a fusion of ballet and contemporary dance, has been taught from the original Benesh notation taken at the time of creation by notator Jane Elliott. I have been drawing on my embodied memory to inform and rehearse an exciting cast who are developing powerful new interpretations.  Wonderful to see this dramatic work, its fractured narrative full of insight and memorable imagery, coming alive once again. Here are some photos taken of the rehearsal process by Yolande Yorke-Edgell.

Looking at the original Dance Advance programme...

Looking at the original Dance Advance programme…

You can find out more about Sea of Troubles and MacMillan’s work here

And about Yorke Dance Project’s programme and activities here.

Dance Advance archival material can be accessed through the National Resource Centre for Dance at University of Surrey.

Coaching Amy Thake

Coaching Amy Thake

A year of dancing, teaching, study and music…

On a quiet day in January at the Ivy Arts Centre in University of Surrey Jennifer Jackson, Nicholas Minns and I danced for Sonia York-Pryce as part of her research into ageism and the mature dancer, improvising on her material. This enjoyable experience resulted in short individual interpretations, which along with those of other dancers in UK and Australia Sonia edited into an atmospheric compilation, Interprète/Inappropriate Behaviour. Shown to acclaim as an installation at the Whitebox Gallery of Queensland College of Art at Griffith University in August it subsequently won the Gold Medal in the first ever Joie de Vivre Dance Film Competition here in the UK. You can read more about this and find links to the films here

Dancing continued in February with a further performance of Two old instruments with viola da gamba player Jonathan Rees in the impressive Hive library in Worcester; read about this here. We prepared for this with rehearsal at Didcot’s welcoming Cornerstone Arts Centre; and were back there again in June, this time with Jennifer Jackson and violinist Jenna Sherry, to work on another musical collaboration. Set to Ravel’s beautiful and richly complex Sonata for violin and cello, inflect, unravel received an informal showing in the Church Hall at Holy Trinity Barnes on 17th June before its first formal performance on 18th June as part of Donald Hutera’s vibrant GOlive Festival at the Giant Olive Theatre in Kentish Town. Read More

Exciting news: Sonia York-Pryce’s short film Interprète/Inappropriate Behaviour featuring the danced responses of 8 mature dancers from the UK and Australia to her original dance motif has been awarded the Gold Medal in the first ever “Joie de Vivre” Dance Film Competition being run by Pavilion Dance South West in celebration of UN International Day of Older Persons on 1st October.  The winning films will be being shown in various arts and health venues in the South West over the month of October, and you can see details about them on PDSW’s website here:

http://www.pdsw.org.uk/news/news-and-opportunities/winners-of-joie-de-vivre-dance-film-competition/

Watch Sonia’s film here

Full credits for Sonia’s film can be found here

You can read more about how the film came to be made and Sonia’s research with mature dancers here

And find links to the contributions of some of the British dancers involved here

Enjoy!